While the laws governing employers are often the same across sectors, different industries are likely to face their own unique challenges. For example, laws about workplace safety may be particularly relevant to a construction firm, while a business dependent on part-time workers may have more concerns about legalities surrounding wages and benefits. Here are some of the most common employment law areas of interest for Canadian companies in the manufacturing sector:
- Age-based discrimination: Manufacturing companies often update their processes and add new technologies to improve efficiency and decrease costs. Digital transformation and evolving technology may introduce the need to hire younger employees with certain technical skills and phase out older employees without such skills. However, any company that considers such phase-out (e.g. through job elimination, layoff, offering early retirement packages, etc.) may be faced with workplace conflict, disruption, and legal action for age-based discrimination.
- Federal temporary foreign workers: The temporary foreign worker program (TFWP) has a strong presence in certain manufacturing areas, like food and wood product manufacturing. It is important to treat any worker under these programs equitably and to ensure there is no discrimination at play in these diverse workplaces.
- Hours of work: Although overtime work may not be uncommon in the manufacturing sector, employers should assure that their employees do not exceed the maximum hours of work stipulated by the province. Employers should also assure that overtime pay arrangements are aligned with provincial employment law.
It is a good idea for manufacturing firms to take a risk management approach to potential legal issues by informing management of the applicable employment and human rights laws and having clear policies in place to ensure that these laws are followed. Manufacturing companies with legal questions or concerns can benefit from discussing these matters with an experienced employment lawyer. Please do not hesitate to contact our team should you have any questions regarding this topic.